It’s hard to believe that I had a baby a month ago. For 40 weeks (40 + 2 days to be exact) I had him inside of me. I watched and felt my body change with each passing week.
After having a miscarriage I can’t tell you how with each week I felt a little more reassurance and at the same time a little more anxiety that it could all be taken away again.
I was writing this blog post while sitting next to Oliver at Lurie Children’s Hospital due to him having a viral infection. So this is what being a parent is I guess – that anxiety never goes away it just gets tucked away for a minute or two and then comes back when you least expect it. FYI we’re home now and Oliver is feeling much better.
It’s hard to believe that it was a month ago that he was being delivered. We checked into Prentice late Sunday evening to be induced and he was born early Monday morning. I have to say the entire experience was pretty phenomenal.
I had gone back and forth on having a doula and after taking a few different birthing related classes with my husband I felt that what I really needed in the delivery room was to be distracted and entertained so I asked for one of my very best friends Jill (Bean and the Stalk) to be with my husband and me throughout the entire labor and delivery process. They have such a great rapport with eachother and they both know how to calm me down, make me laugh, and when I need it reaffirm that I am an incredibly strong person and can get through anything I set my mind to. What more do you need to push a baby out of your body right?
Phil and I checked in at Prentice around 10:30pm and since I was being induced were immediately directed up to Labor and Delivery. Once we had gotten into our room and I was given pitocin to get the contractions started it was already around 12:30 Monday morning. I was told that it could be up to 10-12 hours before I felt the first contraction so to settle in for a long day/night.
Jill had just walked in around the same time and set up the chill playlist we created together. I have to say besides having my husband and my best friend in the room creating a killer playlist is key to getting through contractions and eventually when it comes time to deliver your little one. My doctor even made a comment when I was pushing that she loved my playlist.
So Phil, Jill, and I settled in for the long night with relaxing music, snacks for them, comfy blankets, pillows, and we kept all of the lights off. That room was a zen den for sure. I’m normally a very anxious person but I have to say I felt very relaxed my entire pregnancy and going into that night felt the same.
It was a couple of hours later that I had my first contraction and I’m not going to lie it hurt (a lot) but then it was quickly over. I should say that although I was planning on getting an epidural I had hoped to labor as long as I could until getting one. I had heard from so many of my friends that sometimes an epidural slows down the progression of labor and I really wasn’t interested in spending any more time than I had to pushing my baby out.
While my contractions started getting stronger and closer together my blood pressure was getting high enough that the medical team tested me for preclamspia and said until the results came back I would have to wait on getting an epidural which could take up to an hour. In the meantime I was using breathing techniques and having Phil massage my lower back which was releasing a lot of the pain coming from contractions. In those moments I wondered if I had made a mistake waiting to get the epidural. The pain was getting stronger and closer together meaning I barely had any relief in between contractions. I was strongly considering getting iv medication which had been the one thing I really didn’t want to do. Thankfully just when the pain was at its peak the nurse came back in saying I didn’t have preeclampsia and I could have the epidural.
Phil and Jill had to leave the room while an anesthesiologist administered the epidural. I’m someone that doesn’t do well with shots So truth be told I was just as nervous to get the epidural as I was to go through the actual labor and delivery process. But my anesthesiologist Nicole was amazing. The only thing that hurt was getting the lidocaine and that only lasted for about 15 seconds. I felt a burning sensation which when you know the relief coming on the other side is a piece of cake.
As the epidural was being given my entire body relaxed. Ladies the one thing I will say about contractions is that for them to truly be effective you really have to accept them and let them happen. Deep breathing or sort of pushing the pain out through breathing really helped me and of course it still hurt but the worst thing you can do is tense up. Having your favorite essential oil near by or adding it to your pillow or a little lotion and then having your partner massage your hands, neck, shoulders etc is really good way of keeping that person active during your contractions and helps take your mind off the pain.
Once my epidural was given a resident came in to break my water. I didn’t feel a thing. She did mention that I was at 6 cm dialated which was great. Knowing that I came in at 2 cm and labored without an epidural up to that point made the contractions worth it.
Once Phil and Jill came back in the room we all settled in to get some sleep. While they were getting some shut eye I was just relaxing and sending a few texts here and there. I honestly just enjoyed the music while listening to Oliver’s heart rate on the monitor.
About an hour and a half later the nurses and doctors were doing a shift change. A new nurse came in to say she would be taking over and that one of the doctors from my office would be stopping by to say hello. At that point Dr Lui came in to say hi and see how I was progressing. I mentioned I was having a little bit of rectal pressure – TMI I know but I think first time moms should know that’s where you’ll feel it when you’re having a baby. At that point she checked my cervix and started laughing. I thought she was going to tell me that I had a long way to go but instead she said I was at 10 cm dilated and said it was go time.
I calmly woke up my two birthing coaches and let them know what was going on and of course Jill responded by suggesting a change in music. She then grabbed my birthing affirmation cards holding them like flashcards and went through them a few times to help me get through pushing but honestly I felt nothing, no pain whatsoever. I had to ask the doctor several times if I was pushing hard enough or if I pushing the right way since I couldn’t feel anything but she kept reassuring me that I was doing great and just a little over an hour later Oliver was born… to Cardi B.
A lot of you have asked about my birthing story and since I have a few friends that are also about to become firstime mothers I wanted to share my personal experience. I’m not sure if you can ever be fully prepared for child birth and everyone’s experience is different of course. I can tell you that other when I broke my heel I worked out every day of my pregnancy. It kept me feeling great, I got to stay social with all of my closest friends, and I only gained 17 lbs during my pregnancy. That was something I was worried about going into pregnancy. My doctor and nurse reaffirmed all of my hard work when they said how my delivery went.
Oliver weighed just under 8 lbs at birth and when I got home from the hospital I was only up 5 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight and lost that by the next week – the silver lining of breast feeding, round the clock pumping, and of course sleepless nights. I was prepared for some of the postpartum things to expect from my body but not all of them. I knew that I would most likely walk out of the hospital with stitches and that I would have what would appear to be a 4-6 week period (so fun). But no one prepared me for popped blood vessels in my eyes. For 3 weeks I looked like a character in Twilight. Btw thanks to all of my friends who didn’t ask me WTF happened. Besides that I’ve experienced some of the things that come along with breast feeding. If you’re planning on breast feeding have your doctor or your pediatrician prescribe you a nipple cream in the hospital – trust me I’m saving a lot of pain and suffering.
I still have a couple of weeks before I can go back to my favorite workouts (Shred415 & FlyWheel). And while most of you thought I would try and come back earlier I am a firm believer in listening to my doctors and more importantly body so I will be following instructions and come back soon.
Thanks to everyone that has reached out to see how we’re doing. My besties from Shred even organized a Meal Train for us so we’ve been getting lots of visits with food, Starbucks, and thoughtful gifts. The generosity of the people in our lives is amazing.
Thank you to everyone for the well wishes and great advice along the way. I can’t wait to share more about my experience with motherhood on the blog. Being healthy is my number one priority because I want to continue being a great partner to Phil and become a better mommy to Oliver. I know that comes from taking care of myself and letting those around me help when they offer or asking for help when it’s needed.
Looking forward to staying connected. If there’s anything specific you’d like me to share from my pregnancy, delivery, first few days home, or of course moving forward let me know. Talk to you soon.